Office workers should stand for part of the day

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Office workers should stand for two hours a day

The growing use of e-mail risks creating a generation of unfit, overweight office workers. Workers were once forced to walk to colleagues’ desks to pass on information, now all it takes is the click of a button. As a result, many people are missing out on the little exercise available to them during the working day.

According to official recommendations office staff should spend at least two hours a day on their feet to combat health problems. However many people spend on average nine hours sitting at their desk meaning that 60 per cent of their waking time is spent sitting down. One study suggested that, for those sitting more than seven hours a day, there is a 5% increased risk of premature death with each additional hour off their feet. Doctors say this sedentary behaviour is contributing to serious health issues including obesity, cancer and type two diabetes. Furthermore it is also directly linked to back, neck and muscle pain, which is the cause of 131million sick days each year.

In order to avoid the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle, initially office workers should spend a minimum of two hours on their feet at work slowly increasing that up to an ideal of four hours. Employers should provide alternative ways of working to those that have become so ingrained in modern workplaces. Offices should have a number of higher desks where people can stand, staff should regularly walk around the office, and people should break up long periods of sitting. There is also further research into whether facilities such as toilets should be moved further away from staff, some emails could be replaced by hand-delivered messages and employees could have alarms on computers or personal motion assessment devices prompting them to move.

However, the CBI responded cautiously to the study. ’Companies will generally take a commonsense approach, and offices can be redesigned to encourage different ways of working, but ultimately firms will seek to balance the practicalities of time spent away from desks with the needs of the business’ a spokesman said.

Simply getting people to stand might be a first step towards getting them to take up exercise. But they added that standing on the spot for hours may be as harmful as prolonged sitting, so also recommended taking breaks to walk around the office.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3106596/Office-workers-stand-two-hours-day-Doctors-say-constant-sitting-leading-health-issues-including-obesity-cancer-Type-2-diabetes.html

http://theconversation.com/office-workers-stand-up-from-your-desk-for-two-hours-a-day-42552

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